BELFAST — The City Council voiced its approval Oct. 18 for a project that would computerize burial data for Belfast cemeteries.

Cemetery Trustee Darrell Gilman said computerized burial data information for Grove Cemetery had already been completed. The current project would compile data for the other cemeteries in the city.

Gilman said the project would in part involve field work, which would consist of going to cemeteries to document information. Gilman said the data as to who is buried in some of the city’s cemeteries is scarce and a lot of records are missing. He told the council the current card catalog system used to document information is not sufficient.

According to Gilman’s presentation, computerization of data will make it more easily accessible for those seeking data for genealogical research or other purposes and will save time with data entry for those currently recording the data by hand using cards.

Winter curbside program

The council approved, by a vote of 4-1, extending the city’s curbside program during the winter months. The program allows participating businesses to use outdoor parking spaces for seating areas so long as they apply and meet requirements set by the city. All five of the council members approved extending the program, but debate arose over how many days participating businesses would be required to be open.

The final 4-1 vote came in favor of requiring that businesses be open at least three days per week during the winter months to participate in the program. Councilor Mary Mortier was the lone “no” vote, as she preferred a four-day requirement.

The council also approved that no business can be closed more than two weeks during the program period, which runs from Nov. 1 to April 30, 2023, and that participants must pay a $250 fee to participate.

Tree removal

The council also approved the removal of trees at six properties in Belfast. On five of the properties the council voted unanimously to remove the trees. On the sixth property, located at the corner of Cedar and Spring streets, the council split 3-2 on removing that particular tree. Prior to discussion on removal, Duncan Vaughn, property owner at that corner, said he was experiencing significant issues with his sewer system in his home, which he believed could be attributed to the tree in the city’s right of way in front of his property. Councilors Mike Hurley and Brenda Bonneville did not want to remove the tree, as it is still a healthy tree, but the other three councilors voted to remove it.

In other matters, the council:

  • Approved the hiring of Gabriel Jones and Kevin Littlefield as full-time officers with the Belfast Police Department. They also approved the hiring of Joshua Barnes as a part-time police officer.
  • Approved a request from the Parks and Recreation Department for a sign at Pendleton Park.
  • Approved a letter to be sent to Central Maine Power Co. for the removal of poles within the city.